The Breast Cancer Warrior Who Inspired a Running Community: Cassandra Hie

Running and staying active helped this single mom push through 5 months of pain undergoing 16 chemotherapy treatments

Photo via Cassandra Hie

Tattooed across her stomach is a breast cancer ribbon with butterfly wings and the words “will get there”.

In April 2019, single mom Cassandra Hie, was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo 16 chemotherapy treatments that lasted for five months. What helped her push through the pain each day was staying active and running.

Her oncologist, though not very pleased, gave in when she saw how running was able to keep her motivated and strong.

Photo via Cassandra Hie

Besides running, Hie’s two teenagers kept her going. On days she felt like giving up, she knew she had to push on to be able to be around to provide for them. “They are the main reason that I’m still standing today”, she shared.

Even in the hardest of times, children bring out a strength in parents they never knew existed and for Hie, her children have been her pillar of support through her cancer and running journey. Her last race in Vietnam for the Jungle Ultra-Marathon in 2019 was just a month before her cancer surgery and without her daughter’s words she might not have completed it.

“It was mentally challenging as my mind was troubled after being diagnosed with cancer. The race became so brutal that I wanted to record a DNF (did not finish)”, she said.

Photo via Cassandra Hie

“I remember texting my daughter and telling her that I would not finish the race, and she texted back - that’s not the mom I know. With that, I decided to brave through the heat and complete the race. It was an experience I will never forget.”

Hie has been cancer free for two years and wishes not to live in constant fear of a relapse. Instead, she focuses her energy on cherishing each day and spending time doing things that make her happy, and a big part of that is her training regime.

“After my cancer journey, I have this sense of gratefulness if I get to wake up another day, so I decided to spend my time exercising.”

Photo via Cassandra Hie

Though she has been an avid runner since 2015, over the years she started to realise that she needed to activate other muscle groups to reduce the risk of injury and included other sports like swimming, indoor cycling and strength workouts to her routine.

Hie takes cues from how her body is feeling when planning her daily workouts. Most of her days begin with an hour of strengthening before work and end with a run home after work as a way to relax at the end of the day. Then there are also days where she focuses on mobility and recovery stretches.

“I listen to my body daily. There’ll be days that I feel pumped up so I’ll max out the intensity. On the other hand, I’ll take things easy and do a low impact workout when my body tells me so.”

Photo via Cassandra Hie

Hie works as a sports massage therapist and stresses the importance of proper recovery and having regular sport massages to help increase sports performance and reduce the risk of injuries.

One advice she always shares with her patients and one we could all learn from is, “Our bodies are designed to move, so be active! Focus on your recovery and managing your self care too. That includes foam rolling, stretching and regular sports massage.”

Photo via Cassandra Hie

Hie’s tattoo represents the struggles and triumphs of her own personal journey and her dreams. Three simple words that hold a powerful message especially on days where it would be easier to just give up.

“Every single one of us goes through a different journey of life, but we will definitely get to wherever we are meant to be. We must continue to believe in the dreams we have planted in our hearts, and with faith and hope… we will get there.”

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